ARM: Review - DML 1/35 Scale Pzkw. IV Ausf. G Smart Kit

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale '39-'45 Series Kit No.
6363; Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. G LAH Division, Kharkov 1943 - Smart Kit; 743
parts (486 parts in grey styrene, 216" Magic Track" links, 25 etched
brass, 15 clear styrene, 1 twisted steel wire); estimated price US
$40-45
Advantages: inevitable follow-up to the F2 kit, adds correct parts for
the newer model of the tank; "Smart Kit" makes assembly much simpler
and easier
Disadvantages: probably not enough etched brass or mixed media parts
to suit some modelers
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all German armor fans
As was obvious to many modelers and "old hands" when DML released its
outstanding Pzkw. IV Ausf. F2 kit a few months back, an Ausf. G was
certain to follow as well as the Ausf. H. Now the Ausf. G is here, and
DML appears to have done its homework on this kit.
The F2 was an interim fix to provide a more powerful (e.g. T-34
killing) 7.5 cm gun and used a new KwK L/43 gun in the Ausf. F
chassis. the Ausf. G was a full-up production model which also
incorporated other changes, such as eliminating the vision ports on
the forward sides of the turret. A new double-baffle muzzle brake was
introduced soon after production commenced and later the newer KwK L/
48 gun was introduced into the production line. Very late models had
new design drivers and the driver lost his episcope. Very late
production Gs also added the "Schurtzen" plates and thus late Gs
appeared very much like the succeeding Ausf. H.
Based on those indicators, the DML kit appears to represent an early
production Ausf. G with the new muzzle brake on the KwK L/43 gun and
the aforementioned missing vision flaps. All of the rest of the bits
have come directly from the Ausf. F2 kit.
As with the Ausf. F2, this kit has a new hull pan which is complete
less the stern plates, separate final drives, and much of the surface
detail simulates screw or bolt holes; it also has an applique lower
glacis plate. Drivers now consist of only four parts; the separate
bolts are gone. Bogies are now nine piece affairs without separate
tires.
The upper hull consists of a deck and framework with applique sides,
front and rear engine intake components and fenders. The muffler has a
central tube section and six add-on parts to complete it along with a
"slide molded" exhaust pipe.
All ports and hatches are separate parts so they can be posed open.
While not present, the hull does come with a rudimentary firewall for
the engine compartment, and the various vents and louvers are also
posable either open or closed. The bow also comes with a well-done
machine gun and ball mount. Note that all ports have clear styrene
inserts as well.
The turret is relatively conventional in its parts breakdown, but the
KwK 40 is unique. The barrel is nearly complete in regard to length,
being trapped between the recoil cylinders at the rear and slid
through the armored recoil cover and barrel jacket before having the
muzzle brake installed; this is only in styrene, but a metal part
could be provided later in an upgrade set. But in this kit the F2
"ball" type muzzle brake is now missing. Other than the gun and a very
well done commander's cupola of 18 parts (5 are optional) there is
only a minimal interior for the turret, however.
Etched brass is kept to a minimum and only covers items such as the
engine air intake louvers, some small brackets, and the flaps for the
engine air intakes on the sides of the rear deck.
Tracks are the "Magic Track" snap-together-then-cement type, and
modelers are advised to recall that when facing the head card the left
side track links are on the left and right are on the right; glad DML
simplified that as before I needed a 10x jeweler's loupe to tell which
was which!
A total of five finishing options are provided: 6th SS
Panzergrenadier Regiment, 1st SS Panzergrenadier Division "LAH", 1943
(red 205, whitewash over what appears to be grey); 1st SS
Panzergrenadier Division "LAH", 1943 (red 215, whitewash over what
appears to be grey); 3rd SS Panzergrenadier Regiment, 3rd SS
Panzergrenadier Division "Totenkopf," Kharkov 1943 (white 332, grey);
Panzergrenadier Regiment "Grossdeutschland," Panzergrenadier Division
"Grossdeutschland," Russia 1943-1944 (white 702, whitewash); 1st
Panzer Division, Greece 1943 (white 714, grey). Decals are again from
Cartograf.
Credits include project supervision by Hirohisa Takada, technical
drawings by Shin Okada and technical assistance from Tom Cockle, Gary
Edmundson, and Notger Schlegtendal.
Overall this continues the "Smart Kit" redo of older DML kits, and as
such most modelers will be pleased by the upgrades.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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AMPSOne
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